Visit the Attractions of Rabat

In 2012, the Moroccan city of Rabat was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ‘outstanding universal value’ and visitors will soon see why. Rabat has the modern infrastructure that one may expect from the capital city of the Kingdom of Morocco, while at the same time maintaining its sense of history and culture. While it may not be as diverse as Marrakech, and is certainly a lot smaller than Casablanca, Rabat has a host of fascinating attractions and is a popular tourism destination.

When Sultan Yacoub al-Mansour of the Almohad dynasty started constructing a mosque in Rabat, it is said that he intended it to be one of world’s largest mosques. However, he died in 1199 and the construction project came to an end. The tower which should have reached 60 meters, stopped at 44 meters, and the mosque was destroyed in an earthquake that shook the region in 1755. Today the Hassan Tower remains standing, along with a number of pillars from the mosque, opposite the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V on the Yacoub al-Mansour esplanade. The current Moroccan royal family is of the Alaouite Dynasty, and the mausoleum is a considered to be an excellent example of Alaouite Dynasty architecture, with the inside featuring an ornately decorated domed ceiling and tiles with Islamic motifs on them.

Rabat’s medina offers an abundance of traditional Moroccan items for sale, including leather goods, carpets, jewelry, metalwork objects, wood carvings, spices, olives, argan oil, honey and tasty local cuisine. As the oldest part of the city, Rabat’s Kasbah is a must-see attraction. In the past the Kasbah was a fortress, but today is mainly a residential area with narrow streets and white and blue painted buildings that is charming to stroll through. After walking through Bab Oudaia – an enormous elaborate gate – visitors can explore the Andalucian Gardens with its spectacular hibiscus bushes, palm and fruit trees, before strolling along the riverfront. Outside the city is the ancient Roman site of Chellah, now occupied by a colony of storks, but certainly worth taking a walk through when visiting Rabat.

Photo Attribution: YoTuT on Wikimedia